Drop Dead City – New York on the Brink in 1975


Watch the trailer below. Please note that this first-look preview is a rough cut.

directed by Peter Yost and Michael Rohatyn

DROP DEAD CITY documents the NYC Fiscal Crisis of 1975, an extraordinary, overlooked episode in urban American history that saw an already-crumbling city of 8 million people brought to the edge of bankruptcy and social chaos by a perfect storm of debt, greed, ambitious social policy, and poor governance.

Photo: November 3, 1975: Mayor Abe Beame in front of Gracie Mansion holding New York Daily News front page headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.” (by Bill Stahl Jr./NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images).

Filmaking Team

Director/Producer Michael Rohatyn wrote the screenplay for Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Forty Shades of Blue, starring Rip Torn, and has composed numerous scores including Personal Velocity, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Maggie’s Plan, and Emmy-nominated Arthur Miller: Writer, all for Rebecca Miller. He composed the score and songs for Laurie Simmons’ semi-puppet musical The Music of Regret, starring Meryl Streep and Adam Guettel. Current projects include a film adaption of Tim Krabbé’s cycling classic, The Rider; and Nepenthe, a limited true-crime series featuring 1960’s gossip columnist Steve Brandt and hairdresser/Manson murder victim Jay Sebring.

Director/Producer Peter Yost is a multiple-Emmy nominated filmmaker who has produced/directed dozens of high-end documentary projects for leading broadcasters including the 4- part The Mysteries of Mental Illness for PBS. Past projects include Inside North Korea and The Color Of Oil (both Emmy nominated); and Solitary Confinement, which led to prison reforms in Colorado and elsewhere. He has also produced/directed 7 films for PBS/ NOVA, including Invisible Universe Revealed and Rise of the Drones, and more than a dozen films for National Geographic’s “Specials” unit. GBH recently awarded Peter the McGhee Fellowship in recognition of his exceptional promise as a mid-career filmmaker. He is currently producing/directing a film for PBS American Experience about the German-American Bund.

Editor Don Kleszy received the 2014 IDA Award for Best Editor for his work on Last Days in Vietnam (dir. Rory Kennedy), which was also nominated for an Academy Award. Emmy-nominated documentaries include Makers: Women in War (dir. Rachel Grady); The Poisoner’s Handbook (dir. Rob Rapley) and Oswald’s Ghost, Pandora’s Promise and Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (all dir. Robert Stone). Don’s other doc credits include Downfall: The Case Against Boeing; Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation; Oklahoma City; Ruby Ridge; and Space Men.

Editor Anna Auster is a film editor dedicated to journalistic, documentary storytelling. She began her career while spending a year in Dakar, Senegal, after which she moved to NYC where she has had the great pleasure to work with many talented editors, directors and producers who have enabled her to hone her craft. Recent credits include: Opioids, Inc. (Frontline); (un)Well (Netflix); Innocence Files (Netflix);  Why We Hate (Discovery). Programs she has edited have received WGA, IDA, Critics Choice and Emmy nominations and awards.  She is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Photo: Photo by Bill Stahl Jr./NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images